'Only Murders in the Building' Season 2 Is Blood-Soaked and Strangely Wholesome

Created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman

Starring Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Cara Delevingne, Tina Fey, Michael Rapaport, Nathan Lane, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Amy Schumer

Photo: Craig Blankenhorn / Hulu

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 7, 2022

For a season that begins with a knife stabbed into someone's chest, Only Murders in the Building is curiously wholesome. Even as Season 2 explores another cold-blooded murder — and touches on plot points like infidelity, voyeurism and worker exploitation — the show treats its characters with kindness and empathy, establishing an unexpectedly sweet tone considering the subject matter.

Season 2 comes less than a year since the premiere of Season 1 (which dropped throughout the late summer and fall of 2022), and it covers much of the same territory. Season 1 ended on the murder of Bunny Folger (Jayne Houdyshell), the board president of ritzy NYC apartment building the Arconia, with Mabel (Selena Gomez) discovering her body and becoming the prime suspect.

Picking up right where that left off, Season 2 finds the podcasting trio of Mabel, Charles (Steve Martin) and Oliver (Martin Short) trying to solve Bunny's murder and clear their own names. Cinda Canning (Tina Fey), the host of a competing podcast called Only Murderers in the Building (note the extra "ers"), is intent on making them look as guilty as possible, while enigmatic artist Alice (Cara Delevingne) offers support to Mabel as the rest of the world calls her "Bloody Mabel."

The second season, much like the first, is full of warm-hearted, victimless humour: amiable boomer-vs.-zoomer jokes, a very silly reboot of Charles's once-popular detective show Brazzos, and extremely meta quips about the whodunnit genre. (The only joke that doesn't quite land is Amy Schumer playing an exaggerated, self-involved version of herself; it's a far less funny recreation of Sting's appearance in Season 1.)

What really makes Only Murders stand out is its surprising emotional depth. Like Season 1's dialogue-free episode that focused on a deaf neighbour, Season 2 occasionally and unexpectedly turns the camera on a minor character: an entire episode is devoted to Bunny, revealing the tender side of the brusque, foul-mouthed board president and significantly raising the emotional stakes surrounding her murder. A later episode gives voice to another minor character, populating the show with a cast of characters that are well-rounded rather than simply pawns in a crime.

The six episodes available to critics accomplished an impressive feat: actually making me care about who the murderer is, and making me invested in the characters and their crime-solving efforts. There isn't only murder in this building — there's a lot of heart, too.

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